Baruch courses need greater variety
With approximately 60 subjects to choose from, Baruch College offers a decent variety of courses that can satisfy intellectual curiosity. However, these classes seem to differ in their strength and level of support by school administration. Many of the subject areas at Baruch have the potential to offer a wide variety of courses that would stimulate student intellect and promote a greater appreciation and understanding of the subject.
Certain language subjects, such as Japanese, seem to lack courses when compared to subjects like Spanish. Baruch offers over 50 Spanish courses for students to enroll in, from Elementary Spanish I and II to Spanish Literature of the Golden Age and Twentieth-Century Women’s Writing in Latin America. Meanwhile, the Japanese course list includes less than 10 courses, including Advanced Japanese Oral and Written Communication and Contemporary Japanese Literature, Film, and Culture.
Other language and cultural subjects also, unfortunately, offer minimal courses at Baruch, a fact that may disappoint those who want to expand their worldly knowledge.
Similar gaps exist between cultural studies classes at Baruch, such as the difference in the number of courses offered between Jewish Studies and Asian American Studies. While the subject Asian American Studies offers over two dozen course options, like Classical Chinese Philosophy and the Emergence of Modern Japan, Jewish Studies offers less than 10 courses, two of which are honors classes.
Baruch also seems to lack classes that are offered solely for enjoyment, life skills or general self-betterment. While many of the provided subjects, such as mathematics and political science, satisfy academic needs, Baruch can stand to supply more practical courses. Courses on health and wellness, interpersonal communication skills, purchasing insurance, tax preparation and other general life skills can benefit students looking to succeed no matter the career path that they choose.
Perhaps one of the largest issues with courses offered at Baruch is their tendency to mislead students, especially those who are not well-versed in using CUNYfirst. Often enough, professors who are listed as instructors for a course during registration end up being replaced by a different professor come class time. These professors are sometimes less experienced than the listed professor, which can be detrimental to students who are struggling with the course curriculum in the first place.
In this day and age, there are online resources, such as RateMyProfessors.com, which can provide students with insight into the quality of the learning experience they would receive with certain professors. Students might choose to take a course based on the presence of a specific professor.
For many students, a professor’s specific teaching style can be all it takes to push a student toward success. Thus, an impromptu instructor replacement in the classroom without fair notice can be regarded as a dishonest practice that should be eliminated by Baruch.
In a similar vein, professors are often listed as “Staff” when searching for a course. BIO 1005, an introductory course to modern biology, promises “fundamental biological principles are studied and applied to an appreciation of the organization and operation of human beings.”
As of press time, the course instructor is listed as “Staff,” leading students to wonder who, specifically, will be teaching that course. Choosing classes that fit a student’s specific schedule is stressful enough, Baruch students deserve to know the names of their professors before enrolling in a class that will span for several months and possibly affect their GPA in a big way.
Although Baruch has a variety of subjects and courses to choose from, departments can occasionally be misleading when stating which courses are available to be taken within a subject. ENG 3820, called "The American Short Story," is listed on the English department’s course catalog page as available. However, the course is nowhere to be found when searching for it on CUNYfirst. Other courses, such as the history department’s "Europe in the Age of the Renaissance," suffers the same fate.
Many courses at Baruch are either not offered at all or not offered every single semester. Some students decide their majors and schedules based on a department’s course catalog, so the fact that the catalog does not accurately represent the courses available for enrollment is incredibly unfair to Baruch students.
Departments must be clear in displaying which courses are actually available during a specific semester. Baruch students deserve nothing less than a clear-cut system when choosing courses and a variety of courses to browse.